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New Capital One Bonus: Get up to 100,000 Miles

Last year's Capital One "Match My Miles" promotion was the most generous credit-card sign-up bonus ever: up to 110,000 miles for new Venture credit cardholders who charged at least $1,000 during the first three months.

This year's "Double Miles Challenge" promotion doesn't rate any such superlatives (see below). But it's a solid offer (especially for big spenders) for a travel-rewards card that has plenty to offer.

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Offer Details

For every dollar charged to a travel-rewards credit card in 2011, Capital One will award two miles when you sign up for a new Venture Visa card and spend $1,000 or more during the first three months.

So, for example, if you charged $25,000 to a Citi AAdvantage MasterCard last year, you'll earn 50,000 bonus miles when signing up for a new Venture card.

Earning the bonus is a four-step process:

  1. Apply for a new Venture Visa card.
  2. Register to earn the bonus miles, following the instructions received after approval.
  3. Submit your year-end account summary showing 2011 credit card charges.
  4. Charge at least $1,000 to the new Venture card within 90 days of approval.

The offer is in effect either until Capital One gives away a billion miles, or until May 1. (Whichever occurs first.)

According to Capital One, "All major U.S. consumer-travel rewards credit cards are eligible (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover). Travel rewards cards include all credit cards that earn rewards that can be redeemed for travel purchases (flights, hotels, rental cars, etc.). Purchases on small business cards, debit cards, fleet cards, private-label credit cards, corporate cards, prepaid cards, and Capital One credit cards are not eligible."

Card Details

Before evaluating the offer, it's worth a look at the credit card it's designed to promote.

The Venture card awards two miles for every $1 in charges; these miles are worth 1 cent each when redeemed for airline tickets, hotel rooms, car rentals, and vacation packages.

The Venture card's annual fee is $59, waived the first year. The annual percentage rate is variable, currently 13.9, 16.9, or 20.9 percent, depending on creditworthiness.

When using the card overseas, there are no foreign-currency transaction fees.

There's no limit to the number of miles that may be earned, and miles do not expire as long as the credit-card account remains open and in good standing.

Deal or No Deal

Whereas last year's promotion matched up to 100,000 miles in your frequent flyer account, no matter how or when those miles were earned, this year's match is only for credit card charges made during 2011.

So while this year's potential bonus is almost as lucrative as last year's, it will be much more difficult to earn the maximum, even with the two-for-one match. Unless you're a small business owner who charges company expenses to a credit card, your annual charges probably fall well short of the $50,000 necessary to earn the full 100,000-mile bonus.

If you charged a lot last year and you're in the market for a wallet-worthy Visa travel-rewards card, this offer is a winner. A 100,000-mile bonus is worth $1,000 toward travel expenses, with no blackout dates or capacity controls.

On the other hand, if your 2011 credit card spend was better described as modest, there may be more compelling bonuses on offer for other cards. Just one example: the sign-up bonus for the Chase Sapphire Preferred card is 50,000 points after charging at least $3,000 during the first three months.

This article originally appeared on FrequentFlier.com.

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